Following Antony Sher's I.D., which is currently playing through Oct. 18, will be the London premiere of Neil LaBute's Sept. 11-themed play The Mercy Seat. The two-hander will star Sinead Cusack as Abby and John Hannah as Ben. (Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver played the parts Off-Broadway.) Almeida Artistic Director Michael Attenborough will helm the production, which begins performances Oct. 23, opens Oct. 30 and runs through Dec. 6. The creative team comprises Robert Jones (set and costume design), Mark Henderson (lighting design) and John Leonard (sound design).
Another London premiere — Edward Albee's Tony-winning The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? — will follow the LaBute play. Albee's controversial work, about the revelation of a husband and father's unique relationship with the title animal, will begin performances Jan. 22, 2004, with an official opening scheduled for Feb. 3. Running through March 4, The Goat will be directed by Anthony Page with designs by Hildegard Bechtler.
Two world premieres follow: Joanna Laurens' Five Gold Rings will begin performances Dec. 11 and play through Jan. 4, 2004 with an opening on Dec. 18. Directed by Michael Attenborough, the play concerns two sons, one who is sexually fertile and the other who is not. The needs of the two couples collide in this play, which will feature designs by Es Devlin, lighting by Adam Silverman and sound by John Leonard.
Rufus Norris — artistic director of the Young Vic — will then direct the season's final offering, the world premiere of Festen. David Eldridge's new English-language adaptation of the original Dogme film will begin previews March 18, open March 25 and play through April 24. The creative team features Ian MacNeil (set design), Paul Arditti (sound design) and Orlando Gogh (music). A press statement describes Festen thusly: "Patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Elsa, his daughter Helene and sons Christian and Michael. As the evening progresses Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret. The effect is explosive and sets the tone for a celebration no-one will forget."
The Almeida Theatre is located on Almeida Street in Islington, London. For more information visit www.almeida.co.uk.